13 April, 2023
Water project cost doubles
NEARLY $17 million in contracts have been awarded to bring five water supply schemes that supply the communities of Ravenshoe, Bellview, Cassowary and Millstream North and South into one scheme to improve water quality being delivered to homes.
The project originally included the design and construction of a water treatment plant at the Ravenshoe reservoir site, construction of a new water main and booster pump station from Ravenshoe to Bellview and Cassowary, and construction of a new water main from Ravenshoe to Millstream North and South.
But the cost of the project is much more than the $9 million council had budgeted, which has forced the deferral of the pipeline to Bellview and Cassowary.
Mayor Rod Marti said the project had “pretty much doubled in cost” since the council determined a budget for the project.
“This has been a real challenge given the changing cost of delivering these projects – we budgeted quite a lot of money for this project a few years ago and we were all on track but it has pretty much doubled in price,” he said.
“So, we have a very significant spend in Ravenshoe to get that water up to speed and it’s taken a lot of time and resources from officers.”
Currently, water supplies from the five run-of-river schemes are considered high-risk with the only treatment process in place being chlorination.
“As such these schemes are subject to frequent regulatory boil water notices when river water quality deteriorates to a point where the efficacy of chlorine disinfectant cannot be guaranteed,” a council report explained.
“This creates significant inconvenience for the local communities and poses a potential public health risk.”
Cr Annette Haydon said water quality in the area had not changed in 50 years but when Queensland Health changed the regulations in 2012, it triggered the need for frequent boil water notices.
“In 2020-21, the construction of a 3.9 megalitre water reservoir helped to solve the problem of boil water notices with the 520 connections in Ravenshoe,” she said.
“Unfortunately the 479 connections in the Millstream area have had to endure ongoing boil water notices due to poor water quality in the Millstream.
“When the project is completed, this will bring the total number of 996 properties connected to a new water treatment plant that is able to supply drinking water that meets health standards 100 per cent of the time.
“Approximate 13km of pipeline will also be installed to Millstream to connect to the Ravenshoe Reservoir.”
Cr Bilney described the project as TRC’s priority project which was expected to be completed late 2024.
“Understanding the community angst relating to the continued boil notices is paramount - the community (needs to) understand the timelines and the scope of work being undertaken,” he said